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Vital call for volunteers: Can you help support our major funding application?

Dear Fifth Sense members

In recent months Fifth Sense has been busy pitching an ambitious three-year development plan to a major funding organisation. If we succeed with our application it will secure significant new monies. It will up our game as never before. We are on the brink, having made it through to the last stage. But we need one final push. Can you help?

I’m calling on Fifth Sense members to consider volunteering roles for three Local Hubs we wish to establish in the first year of the plan. This is an opportunity to be part of a bigger, better and more vocal Fifth Sense.

We don’t need binding commitments at this stage, merely expressions of interest. You’ll want to ask questions of us and we’ll want to learn more about you. It’s about matching your skills and experience to the different tasks ahead. Yet a volunteer network is central to the plans we have presented. Our application has a greater chance of success if we can show the extent to which members are willing and able to offer their support. We are calling for volunteers in London, Birmingham and Liverpool.

So, what does the volunteering role entail?

Requiring a couple of hours per week on average, your efforts will support one of three Local Hubs (London, Birmingham or Liverpool) where Fifth Sense will set up partnerships with Consultant Rhinologists (ENT professionals specialising in disorders of the nose and sinuses). Having grappled with your own smell and taste disorders, you’ll help others by sharing your experiences. You’ll co-ordinate events at which clinicians hear patients’ stories to appreciate the impact our conditions have on daily life. You’ll help set up informal patient support groups. Some people may benefit from specific taste and smell training sessions. Via the Rhinology partnerships you’ll be able to engage local GP practices. This is an important part of our work. Many GPs lack sufficient understanding of smell and taste disorders and patients are poorly served as a result. There may also be opportunities to co-ordinate engagement activities among the wider public, for example at existing science or food events. These things and more form a model pioneered by Fifth Sense at the organisation’s inception back in 2012. We know the model inside out. We’ll provide training, support and pay your out-of-pocket expenses. We presently have volunteer Local Pioneers Julie and Joanne representing us in Newcastle and Scotland. You can read about how they’ve benefited from volunteering for Fifth Sense here. Email us at volunteering@fifthsense.org.uk with any questions.

Volunteers are valued members of our team. They help shape and improve everything we do. With this in mind you’ll be invited to our annual volunteers’ forum to share your successes and meet our trustees.

So, what will these new funds mean for Fifth Sense?

We’ll be gearing up our operations to benefit a lot more people. Two new salaried appointments – a National Director and Information Officer – will drive our ambitious Development Plan. We’ll be upping our social media and PR activities to better address the lack of understanding that persists within the medical profession and general public. Our national activities will sit hand-in-glove with the efforts of those in the Hubs, where you – the volunteers – will bring direct, hands-on help and support to those who need it most.   Watch out for more and different volunteering roles which we’ll announce if we’re successful with our application.

Unlike speech, hearing or visual impairment, smell and taste disorders are invisible, and all the more insidious for it. Perhaps you’ve had experience of a doctor focused only on the clinical, dismissing your smell loss as a trifling problem you’ll just have to live with? Do you get frustrated when friends forget your condition and you’re obliged to explain, yet again, that you simply can’t comment on the restaurant’s food in the way they’d wish? Many of us feel misunderstood by our problem. For some, volunteering – just by getting out there – is a way of overcoming feelings of isolation.

Winning this funding application will transform Fifth Sense and the lives of those it supports. Our Development Plan is greater than one letter can share. I assure you that if you do volunteer, you’ll be joining the team at a very exciting time.

Sincerely,

Duncan Boak

Founder and Chair

 

Please email volunteering@fifthsense.org.uk with your expression of interest.  Please let us know where you’re based and feel free to ask any questions.  Please bear in mind that our funding application is still in progress, but showing that we have potential volunteers ready to get involved will help support our application. If we do win the application then activity won’t start straightaway, but we will make sure we keep you informed on progress.  We’ll look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

 

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